The Dinacharya: 7 Ayurvedic Steps To Ignite Your Internal Pharmacy
In ancient times, it was clearly easier to keep synergy with nature. We did not have social media and the million distractions that we now have which pulls us out of our natural rhythms. It is a disconnection that runs deep within us as we have lost our connection almost to ourselves. Disharmony with our inner rhythms can affect our entire make-up down to cellular level.
Modern conditions such as insomnia, heartburn, depression and anxiety could be directly connected to that inner-out of balance state, which could easily be prevented by following a practical daily morning routine, specific to one of the 3 constitutions or mind-body types known as the Doshas in Ayurveda (3 fundamental bodily bio-elements Vata, Pitta & Kapha) which we all fall under ONE as predominant and a second as a sub-dosha. This morning practice is called: Dinacharya (Sanskrit) translating to “routine” in English.
Re-aligning our internal clock to the pulse of Nature
According to renewed International Ayurveda Doctor, Mr. Vasant Lad, following a daily routine according to our Dosha can have a radical effect in our consciousness, improve our digestion power, help us build self-esteem, bring a daily sense of peace, connectedness, increase our energy levels, better sleep, weight loss, contentment, foster balance in body and mind and most importantly, longevity.
The 5 elements are the foundational pillars for Ayurveda
The foundations of these life-enhancing, simple and practical guidelines are based on the clever cycles of the Doshas. One of my most preferred translations of this foundational Sanskrit word Dosha, is, “that which could go out of balance”, as it is normal to be vitiated by life’s roller coasters. The 5 elements are the foundational pillars for Ayurveda and the Doshas, more specifically.
- Vata is made up of ether and air, therefore characterized by properties of cold, dry, light, rough and movement playing major role. Vata types are naturally slim, creative, love to talk, move, travel, change, have short attention span and/or memory and suffer from poor digestion.
- Pitta’s make-up is fire and water, with qualities of hot, sharp, intense, light and bright; with transformation being its key quality. Pitta types are clever, hot-headed, strategic, to the point, love research, sweat easily, and have fast lightening good digestion.
- Kaphas are the juiciest, having water and earth as primal source. Their main qualities are cold, heavy, strong, slow, wet with stability that binds as its major role. Kaphas have an aversion to change, would do anything for you, move and speak slowly, get colds easily and have variable to slow digestion.
Understand the cycles of Nature
In terms of cycles of the day, Vata times runs from 2 to 6 AM and PM; Pitta extends from 10 to 2 AM and PM, while Kapha, 6 to 10 AM and PM. With this daily frame of reference in mind, Dinacharya unfolds its magic. It is said in Ayurveda and I have experienced this “hands-on”, that if we take care of our Vata, we take of our whole being, as Vata can be brought out of balance the fastest out of the 3 Doshas. Personally, as I have integrated Dinacharya and the science of Ayurveda into my life over the past 12 years, i can finally say with conviction that my Vata has finally been pacified, that does not necessarily mean that it takes that long to bring it into balance but rather, once Ayurveda becomes a lifestyle, our systems find their way back into balance.
Get to know your Dosha for optimal health & well-being
Keep in mind that each Dosha requires different types of foods and even a certain attitude in light of balancing its elemental qualities. By following one of the principles of Yoga: practice, practice, practice; soon, it does become a habit! Here are 7 daily guidelines for ultimate health and well-being.
Wake up early, preferably by 6:30 to 7 AM
We can benefit from the natural pure Sattvic qualities abound at this precious early morning hour. If you are a Vata, it’s best to wake up at 6 AM; Pitta at 5:30 AM, and Kapha 4:30 PM. Set an intention for the day and run your hands after gazing at them in gratitude for a few moments from your face down to our waist. Doing this helps clean your AURA.
Try oil swashing
One spoonful of the recommended cold-press or organic oil, placed in the mouth and moved around for not longer than 5 minutes as otherwise toxins will be re-absorbed back into our system. Use sesame, coconut and sunflower oil for the Vata, Pitta and Kapha, respectively. Then, wash your face, mouth, and splash your eyes with cold water a few times. This helps wake up your body and breaks the heaviness from sleep. Scraping your tongue with a tongue scraper – you can use copper, silver or the edge of a spoon – removes toxins which have set in your tongue while sleeping.
Our nose is the doorway into our brain
Apply 3 to 5 drops of warm ghee into each nostril or simply place a little sesame oil with the tip of your smallest finger. This lubricates and cleans sinuses, improves voice and vision, provides mental clarity, and nourishes prana. Finish by applying a few drops of sesame oil inside the ears, which helps with TMJ, lockjaw, excess ear wax, poor hearing, tinnitus; which are all signs that Vata is out of balance.
Self-massage or Abhyanga
Massage your entire body from head to toe with warm oil according to your Dosha. The massage ignites your internal pharmacy, according to Deepak Chopra, as well as prevents baldness, headaches, graying, receding hair-line; and improves the quality of hair and stimulates hair growth. It should not take too long, and once you get used to it, it becomes a quick process. Take a nice warm shower or bath, which is also incredibly soothing to do before bedtime as it induces good sleep.
Asanas in the morning
Depending on your schedule and daily rhythm, make sure to make some time for a few asanas to set the tone for the day. It would be best to pick a few asanas in accordance to what you need on a daily basis, then tune in with pranayama and meditation. You could also meditate once you arrive back at home for the day, after a warm shower to energetically cleanse the day away.
Examples of Asanas:
- Vata: Sun salutation x 12, done slowly; Leg lifting; Camel; Cobra; Cat; Cow. Slow, grounding to finish
- Pitta: Moon salutations x 16, moderately fast, Fish; Boat, Bow and a calming asana to finish.
- Kapha: Sun salutations x 12 done rapidly; Bridge; Peacock; Tree; Lion; and one exercise which is energizing like running a flight of stairs
Examples of Pranayama:
- Vata: Nadi Shodana – alternate nostril breathing. If you are new to this technique, it’s best to look it up as it’s quite demanding.
- Pitta: Shitali: Curl or roll your tongue lengthwise and breath in through it, exhale through the nose.
- Kapha: Bhastrika or bellows breath, which involves a rapid and forceful inhalation and exhalation powered by the movement of the diaphragm accompanied by an audible sound.
Do this according to your constitution. For Vata, take warm oat porridge with a dash of honey or maple syrup. Cereal with cold milk or fruit smoothie is best for the Pitta; while a small bowl of porridge from millet or barley or light muesli with warm rice milk, or small fruit salad / stewed apples for the Kapha. Also, it’s best to avoid dairy and minimize the use of sweeteners.
Apply a little essential oil before leaving for the day.
Ayurveda recommends the following three Marma points for the application of scented oils: middle of your inner wrist, behind the ears, crown of head; inviting freshness, envelops charm, joy, vitality and improves self-esteem.
- Vata: geranium, cinnamon, amber or sandalwood
- Pitta: violet, lotus, jasmine or rose
- Kapha: sage, cedar, eucalyptus, or musk
Upon arriving home, as mentioned above, take a warm shower to energetically cleanse the day away and sit in gratitude and surrender for a few moments before settling for the night.
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